Get around in town
Taxis are a really convenient way to travel short distances as your driver will take you directly to your destination. Read on to find out everything you need to know about travelling by taxi in Britain.
For over 300 years, taxis have been part of London life and both the vehicle and driver are licensed to carry passengers. The famous London 'black taxi' still exists but they now come in a variety of colours. There are currently over 20,000 licensed taxis in London, and over 25,000 licensed taxi drivers. Black cabs are also now common in most towns and cities throughout Britain.
You can hail a taxi in the street when its yellow 'For Hire' sign is illuminated. Taxis can also be found at taxi ranks outside or near most major rail stations and airports (for more information check our airport transport pages). They are licensed to carry 4 or 5 people. A meter registers the fare and it is customary to tip the driver about 10% of the fare.
Traintaxi gives information on whether there's a taxi rank at train, tram or underground stations.
Taxi fares change depending on the time of the day, speed and distance. Fares and any extra charges are always displayed on the meter next to the driver. Fares are more expensive in the evenings, at weekends and during public holidays.
For more information on black cabs in London visit www.tfl.gov.uk/pco. Check regional tourist boards or council websites for information on black taxis outside London.
Minicabs are a cheaper alternative to black taxis, but can't be hailed in the street. Generally they carry up to 4 passengers, but some are able to seat up to 7 people. You can ask for a larger taxi when you book.
You can book a cab by phoning or visiting a local minicab office (telephone numbers can be found in the Yellow Pages telephone directory or at www.yell.com. You can book a minicab a day in advance, or as and when you need it.
Minicabs look like regular cars and don't have a meter, so it's advisable to agree a fare with the driver before your journey. All minicab operators must hold an operating licence issued by the Public Carriage Office (PCO), and for your safety, we recommend you only use licensed companies. Licensed minicabs will display a PCO disk in their front or rear window.
Minicab fares are set by the cab firm, and should be agreed before the journey. Most minicabs charge by the mile. An estimated fare is about £2.50 per mile with a minimum fare of about £5.
Ask for the fare when booking your minicab, and again before starting your journey with the driver.
Most minicab firms charge from pick-up point, but some charge from the minicab office, meaning you're being charged before the cab reaches you, so be sure to check. Like taxis, minicabs can cost more at night and on public holidays.